NASCAR Cup champion Kyle Busch proved he has speed and stamina at the Rolex 24

Alex Andrejev, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Auto Racing

Reigning NASCAR Cup champion Kyle Busch made his debut at IMSA and the Rolex 24 at Daytona this weekend, where he notched 4 1/2 strong hours driving the No. 14 GTD entry for AIM Vasser Sullivan.

Although his team finished 26th overall and ninth in the GTD class, which included 18 teams, Busch proved he's got the chops for endurance racing at the 24-hour event, and said he wants more.

"Hopefully there's some things that Toyota has up their sleeve as to what class they want to participate in and what cars they want to run over here in the next few years," Busch told reporters Sunday. "I would certainly be all hands on deck to put my hands up to get ready to go for an overall DP win."

Busch was able to propel his car into the lead lap during his first stint, which came around 6 p.m. Saturday. His 42-minute run followed a poor start for the team, which was second-to-last in its class when Busch got in the car. He gained two positions before being pulled for an early driver change as part of the team's strategy to rest him for later.

"We've had a good experience and hell, I only got one stint in, so I'm ready for more," said Busch after the first run. "Sign me up, coach."

At midnight, Busch returned to the driver's seat for his second stint following a solid run by teammate Jack Hawksworth, who gained three more positions in the class and put the car in 10th place in GTD.

Busch then remained in the car for a double stint at the 12:55 a.m. mark, followed by a triple stint just after 7 a.m. Each stint is 45 minutes and drivers are required to run 4.5 hours each in the endurance race. After his triple, Busch passed the car off to Hawksworth with the team five laps down.


Around 1:45 p.m., Busch completed his final shift in the Lexus RC GT3 for a ninth-place finish in GTD.

"Thanks for the fun, boys," said Busch to his team after the race. Busch also shared the car with drivers Parker Chase and Michael De Quesada.

No. 48 Paul Miller Racing won the event for the GTD class, while Wayne Taylor Racing took home the overall win for the third time in four years.

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